November 9, 2011

Food for thought

Have you considered the merits of producing you own baked goods from scratch, as opposed to outsourcing? The process can have an impact on your customers’ health, perception of you business – and also your bottom line …

Ihad to really think about it when considering baking my own instead of outsourcing. Ultimately, I did what any barista would do when perfecting an espresso … first, by looking for the reasons it’s not quite perfect, then finding an evolutionary solution to stop those tastes showing up again. My findings may be new to you, but they have been around long before you or I were here.

At the very beginning, you should know about the nature of creating something with your hands; in doing so, you’re filling the item with your good intentions. That, in a way, is love. Love is the secret ingredient that makes Granny’s cooking so good, and that’s why it never tastes the same when you’re following the list of instructions (recipe) she gave you. She does not need her intellect to tell her the whens, whats, whys and hows of the meal’s preparation. She understood the cooking technique a long time ago; now she just listens to her heart – possibly even humming a tune, her own unique frequency of happiness, while she’s at it!

As a human, food is such a huge part of our daily lives. Also as humans, we evolve. We try, we evaluate, and we adapt. The Fast Food revolution that’s been building in society for a few decades now is starting to fade. We can see this by noticing the big name brands, the main driving forces behind the Fast Food industry, are now introducing the labelling of their products as healthy – some even go as far as to say natural.

In the world of commerce, it’s called adapting to consumer demand. Fortunately though, we’re human beings; a consumer is just a label they use to try to herd us. We know that healthier means a longer and happier life. To be healthier, you steer away from manufactured products and aim for more natural produce. Manufactured/processed is the direct opposite to fresh and natural. The time of healthy living is here; living in nature was where it all started, and ultimately, where we will realise we belong.

So, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Life is far too short to spend time doing things that have been proven to make it shorter for you. As a world, it may take some time to relearn our livelihood – we’ve been distracted so long – but if the path of 1,000 steps takes 1,000 steps, once you’ve taken 1 step, there are only 999 left.

Acknowledging the steps so far, coffee has gone ahead in leaps and bounds in the short time I’ve been involved in the industry. We’re forever evolving coffee, for we take it very seriously. Sometimes I think, however, that we can be a little too focused on coffee. Sure, we’re in the coffee industry. But like anything good in life, there must be balance. Give your love and energy to everything that you do; your eggs deserve to have more than one basket.

It’s not natural that so many cafés of today have resorted to outsourcing cakes, muffins and pastry supplies. There is certainly nothing wrong with sharing your profits with local business through partnerships, but if you have an oven, two hands and the ability to enjoy using them, you are missing out on a very rewarding part of your business. Baking these household creations was discovered long ago. It was then, and still is today, a very simple project to complete.

There are other distractions, however – titled things like ‘just add water’ – keeping this knowledge just out of your sight. Notice them now and realise they are of no benefit to you. As a coffee enthusiast, how do you view ‘instant’ coffee? Anything instant limits your ability to enjoy the process of creation … nothing natural is instant.

Home cooking in your café will reward you in many ways; in the monetary way, your margin is 70 – 80% (RRP $3.50 = $2.60 profit), compared to outsourcing a margin of 30 – 60% (RRP $3.50 = $1.60 profit). If you’ve been asking yourself how to earn an extra $50 – $100 a week, the answer just came to you. Plus … there’s more.

There is a common belief that joy is received through creation. The stigma within our industry of stress, negativity, jealousy and overwork doesn’t need to be a frequency you tune in.

Through coffee, it’s the business of cafés that we’re in. Coffee is, and in my opinion should always be, a huge part of your offering to the market, but it’ll never be the only thing. It is my experienced opinion that successful cafés put energy into everything else they offer too. Learn to create and have an interest in quality – not the perception of it.

For information about how to home cook your baked goods in your business, try Googling it; all the knowledge you seek is readily available for free through millions or recipes and cooking tips. Take the first step, and empower yourself with these skills. For personal assistance in incorporating some home cooking in your business, contact my dear friend and business partner Simon Favorito via email:

STORY BY Tristan Creswick

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